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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How Learn Boost Plans to be Here for the Long Run

Earlier this month I wrote a post containing my initial impressions of a new free online gradebook system called Learn Boost. Recently, one of Learn Boost's founders Rafael Corrales contacted me to share some more information about Learn Boost. His contact gave me the opportunity to ask this of Rafael: "What is the long-term business model for LearnBoost? I ask because there have been other free gradebook programs that shut-down without warning their users leaving teachers in a lurch without access to their data." Rafael quickly replied, on a Sunday morning no less, with these answers that he gave me permission to share with all of you:

First, we want to always have the teacher gradebook, with the current feature set, as free. We are committed to that, because our business model is building out full school systems (some call it student information systems) and applying a freemium model to that space. So for teachers, it's always free. For schools, it can always be free if they choose no additional services. If they choose extra support or training, then schools do pay us but still significantly less than big competitors like Pearson and Blackboard. Plus they get a fantastic product, as we're confirming from all the great feedback we're getting and by our rapid growth. So our business model is a free teacher gradebook, and a freemium student information system for schools saving them 80-100% of their administrative software costs.

Second, we are committed to giving teachers and schools choice and flexibility. For example, we allow the export of our gradebook data. As we continue to expand, we'll continue to support export options. So even though we have plenty of money raised and we'll be around for quite a while no matter what, if anything where to happen to us teachers and schools could always export their data from LearnBoost.

We also believe it's important that teachers can export data because it means we believe we're the best gradebook and lesson plan software on the market. Look at many of the gradebook options out there that don't let you export -- that basically means they're putting a lock on the exit because they know you'll want to leave. We think you'll want to stay with LearnBoost, which is why it's very easy to export data in the event that you 1) want to leave or 2) something happens to our business.

For me the most important part of Rafael's answer is the ability to export the data you store in Learn Boost. I think if you choose to use Learn Boost and you're worried about data loss, exporting your data every few weeks would be a good habit to get into.